When Prayer is Desperate, Psalms Satisfy (Psalm 86:11-13)
By: Lia Martin
Today’s Bible verse is Psalm 86:11-13 — Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths, from the realm of the dead.
The other day I was spending my communion time with God among the Psalms. And in response to my searching, he paused me at Psalm 86. Have you ever tried inviting God’s leading in this way?
Simply opening your Bible and moving your hands through the pages—eyes closed and heart in prayer—can be a meaningful way to exercise faith.
I sought God’s presence in this time of prayer for an answer to my anxious thoughts. Confession: I have a tendency to seek God in prayer to “help me” or “deliver me” or, quite frankly, make my wishes come true.
But today, he would remind me...that we seek God because of who He is.
As I desperately prayed back the words of Psalm 86 in its entirety out loud, it seemed as though the Spirit had commandeered my voice. I felt mysteriously connected to the terrified David of ancient days. Call me crazy, or faithful, but I felt David’s voice supernaturally comingling with mine in harmony.
I was humbled and struck by a realization that the entire story...all of humanity and all of time...is in God’s hands.
And even though David may have been afraid, there’s a really bright side to this psalm. The beloved Charles Spurgeon comments on this psalm that it can be “divided into three portions, each ending with a note of gratitude or of confidence.”
If you read it aloud, you will see that as a prayer, it cries for help. However, it consistently surrenders that anxious longing in favor of grateful praise for the One who the psalm describes as merciful, incomparable, marvelous, and abounding in love.
Its final words declare that the Lord has indeed “...helped me and comforted me.” My Bible sidenotes suggest that as you read Psalm 86, you can then choose one of the loving attributes of God it contains...and thank him for it all week.
“In this Psalm, Christ the Son of God and Son of Man, one God with the Father, one man with men, to whom we pray as God, prays in the form of a servant. For he prays for us, and he prays in us, and he is prayed to by us. He prays for us as our Priest. He prays in us as our Head. He is prayed to by us as our God."
Maybe this is why God desires us to open our Bible. Because He’s speaking to us in words that delivered then, now, tomorrow, and for eternity. And what you’re crying out to God about, Jesus has also been through. And he’s seeing you through it, right beside you, now.
He writes this psalm for you as a way of casting your anxiety on him, and choosing instead to be thankful. To know that God was, is, and will forever be your provider; and the source of all hope, joy, and life.
Each line that falls down in desperation is picked up by praise. And you come away, having prayed this psalm, knowing that God can teach you the truth, give you undivided heart, and deliver you from the depths...of even the grave.
Lia Martin loves to inspire others to lean into the Lord daily. She's a writer, editor, marketer, former Crosswalk.com Faith Editor, and author of Wisdom at Wit's End: Abandoning Supermom Myths in Search of Supernatural Peace. When she's not cultivating words, she loves walking in nature, reading, exploring the latest health trends, and laughing with her two wonderful kids. She blogs at liamartinwriting.com.
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